Software Test Considerations When Your Organisation is Moving to the Cloud

19 Apr 2024
Considerations for Software Testing in Cloud Migration

Cloud computing has changed the landscape of the digital ecosystem through its widespread adoption. Its innovation, flexibility, and economies of scale have benefited many, from small startups to global corporations, healthcare providers to government agencies, and a myriad of businesses in between.

Moving to the cloud offers many benefits, including significant cost savings by reducing or eliminating the capital expense of buying hardware or software, agility, and global accessibility.

While cloud migration might seem like the perfect solution to many, it still holds major risks, including the introduction of new complexities in software testing. Transitioning to the cloud isn't just a matter of lifting existing systems and dropping them into a cloud environment. It requires a suite of specialised testing to ensure that everything works as intended in this new setting.

Let’s look at the multi-faceted testing considerations for organisations adopting cloud computing to ensure a seamless transition and robust cloud deployment.

People: Readiness and Skillset Enhancement

The human element is pivotal in the orchestration of cloud migration. It is imperative to cultivate a cloud-ready mindset among the stakeholders through meticulous change management and continuous education. Understanding the 'what', 'why', and 'when' of cloud migration sets the foundation for strategic alignment and operational readiness. Building a team with the requisite skillset, particularly in cloud-specific technologies, is essential. This team should be adept not only in traditional testing methodologies but also in cloud-native tools and services, ensuring that they are equipped to handle the dynamism of cloud environments.

Process: Adapting to Cloud Dynamics

The processes that govern software testing must evolve to cater to the agile and scalable nature of cloud services. It involves recalibrating test data management, ensuring regulatory compliance, and adopting different provisioning strategies for test environments.

A significant aspect is security testing, which must address the cloud's shared responsibility model and incorporate tests for access levels and data security.

Performance testing also acquires new dimensions in the cloud context, with a focus on after-migration testing to establish performance baselines and the understanding of performance in distributed environments. The elasticity of cloud resources necessitates a dynamic approach to resource allocation and bandwidth management.

Automation and test coverage should include cloud-specific test cases and scenarios.

Technology: Leveraging Cloud Capabilities

Technology considerations are at the core of cloud migration testing. Tools and platforms like Neoload for performance testing, Azure Test Plans for test management, and Qlik Cloud for data analytics, become instrumental. Test environments must be configured for cloud characteristics, employing solutions like Enov8 for environment management and BrowserStack for cross-device/browser testing.

Monitoring takes on a new role with cloud-specific dashboards and enhanced logging capabilities to provide real-time insights into cloud operations. Compatibility testing ensures that applications are congruent with cloud environments, which requires a detailed understanding of APIs, cloud infrastructure, and services.

Specialised Testing for Cloud Migration

To ensure robust cloud deployment, there are specific areas of specialised testing that need attention:

  • Compatibility Testing: It’s crucial to check that applications smoothly transition to the cloud. They need to run as well, if not better, in their new cloud home. Ensuring seamless operation after the migration is a must.
  • Performance Testing: Before and after moving to the cloud, it's essential to understand how the system performs. We need to make sure that the migration doesn't just maintain but ideally improves performance and scalability.
  • Security Testing: The cloud's shared security model introduces new considerations. We must be vigilant about how data is protected and ensure compliance with regulatory standards, such as HIPAA for healthcare data.
  • Integration Testing: In the cloud, systems often need to interact with other cloud-based services as well as on-premises systems. Testing these connections is vital to ensure that all parts of the system communicate correctly.
  • Data Migration Testing: The integrity of data during the migration process cannot be overstated. We have to ensure that every bit of data makes the trip unaltered and lands in the right place.
  • Network Testing: The cloud can change how data flows through a network, potentially affecting speed and accessibility. Assessing the network's performance post-migration is key to maintaining smooth operations.
  • Disaster Recovery Testing: Cloud environments are designed to be resilient, but we must test and prove that disaster recovery strategies are effective in this new context.
  • Compliance Testing: As the cloud evolves, so do the compliance landscapes. Continuous testing is required to keep up with industry regulations and ensure that systems remain compliant over time.
  • Migration Acceptance Testing: Similar to a test drive after a car service, this is where we confirm that every component of the system is in full working order after the migration. It's a comprehensive check-up to ensure everything is as it should be.

As organisations pivot towards cloud infrastructure, the testing strategy must be redefined to align with the novel characteristics of cloud computing. By addressing the holistic aspects of People, Process, and Technology, businesses can mitigate risks, enhance quality, and leverage the full spectrum of cloud benefits. The approach should be iterative, flexible, and forward-thinking to accommodate the continual evolution of cloud services, enabling organisations to stay at the forefront of technological excellence and business innovation.

Jéhan Coetzee

Head of Consulting

Jéhan Coetzee is the Head of Consulting at Inspired Testing. He sees himself as a test philosopher and freethinker and has a bedrock of experience spanning decades. He often ponders the bigger picture and the role testing plays in it.

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